Google- New Nest Hub; Apple Event March 23rd Rumors; Surface Duo Refresh Coming; Wearables Jumped During Pandemic

Google has unveiled a new Nest Hub, which will feature Soli ‘Sleep Sensing.’ Techcrunch.com reports that the 2nd generation Nest Hub will keep the floating display deign of the original and the Hub Max. It has a 7 inch screen, and while it still has rather thick bezels, the raised surround is gone, which makes wiping it clean easier. The updated Hub comes in Chalk, Charcoal, Sand (pink) and Myst (blue.) Google says the new model has 50% more bass than the original, which they claim gives it richer sound (or at least boomier!) It also sports a third microphone. The ‘killer’ feature is a Soli radar chip in the upper right hand corner. This allows you to play or pause media by tapping in the air. You can wave to snooze alarms, AND it has ‘Sleep Sensing.’ The sleep sensing is opt-in, by the way. If you choose to do sso, its will analyze your sleep based on movement and breathing, and will identify ‘disturbances’…like coughing, snoring light fluctuation, and temperature changes. In the morning, you can ask ‘Hey Google, how did I sleep,’ and get a Sleep Summary (a button also does this.) How much, you say? the new Nest Hub is $99.99…just a $10 buck bump from the old one, and you can preorder today for a March 30th launch.

March 23rd is getting more widely touted as the date for the next Apple event. According to cnet.com, this one will most likely feature an iPad Pro update, AirPods 3, and maybe…just maybe…the long-rumored tracking tags, the AirTags. Most Apple watchers think the AirPods will be very similar in form factor to the AirPods Pro. A late report by Ming-Chi Kuo has those ear buds being delayed until later in the year, however. 

Microsoft’s Surface Duo, the folding dual-screen Android phone, will apparently get a refresh later this year. 9to5google.com notes that the initial model had an outdated chip, and a so-so camera, and what have been called major software issues, so the hope is that the upgrade will be a much better phone. Microsoft is continuing to hire Android engineers, and seems intent to prioritize fixing the software issues. They are also working at getting better pictures out of the handset with software, as Google has done with the Pixel phones. It’s a cool concept, but just as other folders, has lacked in the execution.

With all the changes due to the pandemic, wearables jumped 28.4% in 2020. Idc.com reports that shipments hit 153.5 million in the final quarter of the year. While some bump was due to new models and lower prices, it appears a number of consumers redirected disposable income from other electronics to wearables. Apple again was on top with 36.2% market share for its Apple Watch line. Xiaomi was 2nd, although its Mi band line fell 18.3%. Samsung was third, with 8.8 million.



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